An agreement with the Yukon government will help the Selkirk First Nation benefit from the Minto copper mine, said chief Darin Isaac.
“The memorandum of understanding gives us the ability and capacity to undertake projects,” said Isaac, after signing the document at the mine on Friday.
The development is located in the First Nation’s traditional territory.
Through the agreement, the Yukon government has pledged to help Selkirk deal with both the impacts the large project will have on citizens and the community of Pelly Crossing, said Isaac.
The deal can help with programs to counsel employees living and working away from home and train citizens for jobs at the mine, he said.
“We want to make sure our people have the skills and qualifications to work here,” Isaac said.
Two contracts for services at the mine have already been awarded by mine owner Sherwood Copper to Selkirk, and more than 20 Selkirk citizens are working at the copper mine, which is slated to enter production in the spring.
Premier Dennis Fentie signed on behalf of the Yukon government.
“I couldn’t say more about how pleased I am,” said Fentie at the mine.
“This partnership is designed to ensure that this exciting new mine development provides opportunities and benefits for Selkirk First Nation,” he added in a release.
The new agreement commits the Yukon government to helping the First Nation deal with social, economic and other impacts the Minto mine, currently ramping up for production, could have on its community.
The agreement also includes guidelines for the administration of encumbering rights, fiscal arrangements for revenue from the mine, impact studies and a plan for co-operation on a $30-million hydroelectric power line extension to Pelly Crossing and the mine site.
About eight tonnes of copper are believed to be in the ground at the site. That’s worth about $60 million at today’s prices.